When developing a post I typically pick a theme, be it an actor, genre, director, embarrassment free, etc- and then recommend movies that fit into said theme. But I have lots of movies that are just individual favourites and I thought it was time to start mentioning them. So, for no other reason than I just like these movies- here we go with odds and ends part 1.
Tea With Mussolini---Semi-autobiographical tale from director Franco Zeffirelli. An illegitimate child is raised by an Englishwoman in pre-WWII Fascist Italy. All star cast including Cher, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Joan Plowright---lot of Oscar winners here.
Notes on a Scandal- I almost passed on watching this one because the subject matter didn't appeal to me---an older female teacher seduces/is seduced by a young male student. But the seduction is not the main story, but rather what unfolds as a result. With Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench, both were up for Best Actress for their performance and I firmly believe Dench should have received it. However it went to Helen Mirren that year for "The Queen". If you are used to seeing Dench as a calm, controlled voice of reason in her various roles, hang on to your hats!
Deliverance-da da da da da da da da daaaaa. If this somehow escaped your movie radar, this Burt Reynolds, John Voight offering from 1972 is very good. The performances are believable, the story grabs you almost immediately and the ending is strong. Be advised- this is adult material with some disturbing scenes.
Catch Me if you can--- from 2003 "the true story of a real fake". With Tom Hanks and Leo DeCaprio, this one is just plain fun.
The Red Violin--- from 1998. The history of a beautifully crafted violin is followed through three centuries and many countries, eventually ending up at an auction house. This movie is quite compelling.
In the bedroom---2001 with Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson and Marisa Tomei. This movie isn't so much about plot as about what happens when you have well-developed characters and you drop them into a situation. This is a gut-wrencher.
A River Runs through It---an early performance by Brad Pitt, playing one of two brothers growing up in rural Montana in the 30's. A beautifully filmed story about what we do with the choices that life hands us. Often confused with another Pitt movie done two years later, again set in Montana---Legends of the Fall, with Sir Anthony Hopkins and Aidan Quinn--unapologetically passionate and highly entertaining.